As a parent, you are the greatest influence in the lives of your children, and even though they don’t always show it, your attention means everything to them. This fast, fun resource is jam-packed with 101 creative ways to help you connect with your kids. . .and nurture their spiritual growth. These must-read pages are like three books in one: a daily devotional, a family activity guide, and a parent-child communication primer. Age-appropriate object lessons and discussion starters bring to life Bible verses about the character of God—enabling you to seize Proverbs 22:6 and train up your kids.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Michael Ross is an award-winning journalist and the author, coauthor, and collaborator of more than 30 books. The former editor of Breakaway, a national magazine for teen guys published by Focus on the Family, today he oversees Back to the Bible’s book publishing efforts. He and his wife, Tiffany, live in Lincoln, Nebraska, with their young son, Christopher.
TIFFANY ROSS, M.Div., is a writer, videographer, and children’s ministry director. She has coauthored five books—including Does MasterCard Accept Visa? (Beacon Hill)—and is a former film production coordinator at Focus on the Family. Tiffany and her husband, Michael, live in Lincoln, Nebraska, with their son, Christopher.
Read an Excerpt
101 Ways to Strengthen the Parent-Child Connection
Devotion, Tips & Activities
By Michael Ross, Tiffany Rose
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Back to the Bible
All rights reserved.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Create a safe environment so you and your family can play a fun game of trust. Take turns having one family member wear a blindfold over his eyes so he cannot see his surroundings. Then give him simple instructions to guide him through the room. Tell him things like, "Take three steps forward, feel the wall with your left hand, and take one step to your right." Make sure you give him good instructions to get him across the room safely. Then trade places and let your child guide you across the room while you wear the blindfold. This will build trust.
TALK IT OUT
Did you like to be blindfolded?
Did you have a hard time trusting my instructions? Did you think I was going to trick you and make you fall or trip?
Was it fun to give me instructions? Were you tempted to trick me?
Do you think God wants to help you make good decisions? How does He help us out?
Today's activity opens the door for a creative discussion about the Third Person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit. Help your child understand that He is our Guide, Helper, Strengthener, and Advocate, sent by Christ to live in us and to counsel (or guide) us. Like the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is to be believed and obeyed. Say something like this: "In times of trouble—especially those moments when everything and everyone seems very scary—the Holy Spirit of God comes close to you, comforts you, and guides your steps."
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank God for always wanting what's best for us and (2) thank Him for the many ways He reaches out to us every day.CHAPTER 2
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Take a look at a globe or a map of the world. Find your hometown and compare its size to that of the whole world. Next, do a Google search and learn how many people live on Earth right now and imagine how many have lived on this planet throughout all time. Each and every one of us has been handmade—each of us is a beautifully unique creation. It's amazing!
TALK IT OUT
Have you ever seen two people who look exactly the same? Why or why not? (Even twins have differences, right?)
Next, instruct your child to study his hands, and then say (or read) this: "One-fourth of all your bones are in this part of your body. With them, you can create the most delicate painting or lift heavy weights. And your very own fingerprints are uniquely yours. Now think about your brain. It's so complicated that even the most advanced computer is nowhere near its efficiency. It not only controls your body, but with it you think, you create, you feel, you love, and—along with your spirit—you reach out to God."
Read Genesis 2:4–25. Point out the important job God gave Adam—naming every living creature (verses 19–20)—and ask your child to spend some time thinking about names of people. Do you think our names help to make us unique individuals? Do you think God knows the name of everyone who has ever lived? (Answer: Of course He does!)
Read John 3:16. Based on this verse, how precious are people to God?
Help your child begin to grasp the wonders of our Creator. Help her see that God is infinitely greater than what our minds can comprehend and that we must approach Him with faith—not courtroom-style facts that skeptics sometimes demand. Emphasize that the God in whom we have come to trust is the infinite, holy Creator who has always existed and who made the universe by the power of His word (Hebrews 11:3). Explain that in the Bible (Exodus 3:14) God told Moses, "I Am Who I Am." Point out that there is only one true God (Isaiah 45:5). He is the sovereign Lord, the God of the Bible, who acts in His creation and who involves Himself intimately in our lives.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank God for creating the world and (2) consider the amazing uniqueness of each human.
Ideal for Kindergarten to Third Grade and Fourth Grade to Seventh GradeCHAPTER 3
Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children.
Instruct your kids to draw cartoon panels of Jesus helping others. Encourage them to create a visual story and share it with the whole family. Next, draw another panel that shows how they can help others.
TALK IT OUT
Do you think Jesus' life was easy? Why or why not?
How do you know what Jesus was like? Stories in the Bible?
What does it mean to be Jesus' hands and feet here on earth? (In other words, what does it mean to do what Jesus would do if He were physically here on earth?)
Emphasize service, giving, and kindness. Explain that Jesus wants us to share God's love with those around us. Ask this question: "What do people see when they look at your life?" Explain that others should see "big smiles," nice words, kindness, goodness, friendship—an example that Jesus has set for us! Point out that it makes God sad when we hurt others and use mean words. Obeying parents and elders, and treating friends and family with love and respect, shows that we love God.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank Jesus for being our example and (2) discuss the many ways we can show His love to the world.CHAPTER 4
MY HEAVENLY FATHER
One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Pull out some photo albums and take a trip down memory lane. Study photos of each family member and note your similarities and differences in appearance. Count how many people live in your house, as well as how many relatives live in other parts of your town, state—even different parts of the world.
TALK IT OUT
How many of these family members did you choose to live in your house? Any of them?
Do we get to choose our mother or father?
Read John 14:15–21. What does Jesus mean when He says, "I will not leave you as orphans" (verse 18)?
What can we do to remember that we are part of a bigger family—God's family?
Think about this: If you peer into a telescope and study the heavens, you would no doubt conclude that our Creator is "distant, faraway, and scary" because the universe is dangerous and terrifying. But is this who God is? Absolutely not! It's important that your child knows the truth about this "invisible" Creator we serve, and that the right image is etched into his heart and mind. As you're probably well aware, wrong thoughts about God can cripple even the youngest believer's Christian walk. As our heavenly Father, God is bigger than we can grasp. Yet because of His love, He forgives our sin through Jesus Christ and brings us back into fellowship with Him. Abandoning His unholy, imperfect children is unthinkable to God—just as it was unheard of to the father of the prodigal son.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank Jesus for making us a part of His big family and (2) praise the Lord for His never-ending love.
Ideal for All Grade LevelsCHAPTER 5
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Create a "verbal story" together. Tell your child to imagine herself trapped outside in a rainstorm. But then her daddy picks her up and carries her to safety. (Invite your child to fill in the details.) End the story this way: "He protects you in a warm, dry shelter while the storm passes. He knows what to do and when it is safe to come out." Now discuss what you both dreamed up.
TALK IT OUT
Who do you want to be with when you are scared?
Do you ever pray during those times?
Do you think that God, your heavenly Father, wants you to ask Him for help?
Consider reading all of Psalm 91, emphasizing verses 1–2: "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" Another great passage to share is Matthew 7:24–27. There are two very important points that you should drive home with today's lesson: (1) God is stronger than anybody or anything in the world; (2) God wants us to call out to Him when we are scared ... and trust that He will protect us.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank Jesus for always being there for us and (2) ask the Lord to help us pray when we are scared.CHAPTER 6
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command."
It's time for a little role-playing. Have your child think of two other kids: one who is a good friend and another who isn't very nice. Now have him pretend to be the kid who is a friend. Your child should use the words and actions they've seen the other kid use. Then have your child switch and imitate the kid who isn't very nice. Discuss which kid shows love. Then ask your child to think about how others might see him. Does he show love?
One word of caution: In order to prevent this exercise from getting out of hand and becoming a "trash-talk fest," set some boundaries. For example, no inappropriate behavior ... and no brutal comments about the not-so-nice kid.
TALK IT OUT
Do you have friends? Are some better friends than others?
Are you a good friend to those around you?
How is God your friend? How do you know that He is your friend? Do you believe He will ever leave you?
Since our children's friends can have such a tremendous influence on their lives—especially for tweens and teens—it is crucial that you help them take five key steps: (1) choose friends wisely, (2) evaluate their current friendships, (3) sever bad ties, (4) deflate peer pressure, and (5) build Christian friendships with those who have like-minded values. Share 1 Corinthians 15:33 with your child: "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" Translation: Be careful—the kind of people you spend time with will largely determine your life's direction.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank Jesus for making us His hands and feet to the world and (2) ask the Lord for the strength to love those around us—especially those who are hard to love.CHAPTER 7
MY GOD WHO SEES ME
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."
Pull out one of those seek-and-find books. Pick one of the puzzles where the objects are hidden in the larger picture (the harder the better). Help your child find the objects listed. You can work several puzzles together if you would like.
TALK IT OUT
Was it hard to find all of the objects listed?
Did you know that God cares so much about you that He keeps an eye on you all the time?
How does that make you feel?
It's hard to comprehend, but the truth is, God sees each one of us, every second of every day—even among the billions of people who inhabit the planet. Tell your child that God knows us inside and out, and "even the very hairs of [our heads] are all numbered" by God (Matthew 10:30). In fact, He looks right into our minds and knows our thoughts and understands our motives (Psalm 139:2). Help your child to see the Lord's love in His gaze, not His judgment.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank Jesus for caring for us so much and (2) ask the Lord to help us see Him better.
Ideal for Kindergarten to Third Grade and Fourth Grade to Seventh GradeCHAPTER 8
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Ask your child to remember the last time she had a shot. Was it a penicillin shot or an immunization shot for measles, mumps, or some other disease? Talk about what that shot was supposed to guard against or protect her from.
TALK IT OUT
Have your child indicate some people whose job is to guard and protect us.
The Bible says that God will protect us from the evil one. Can you think of a time God protected you? (Mom and Dad, this would be a great time for you to share your stories with your kids!)
What is evil? How does God strengthen you so you can be protected from it?
Today's focus on "God our guardian" also must involve an honest look at who and what He is guarding us from: Satan and evil. Begin by explaining that the devil is nothing more than an annoying mosquito compared to God's power. Share some biblical clues about Satan's limited power. Read this: "The LORD said to Satan, 'Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.' Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD" (Job 1:12). In other words, the devil operates on a leash that God holds. Next, read Hebrews 2:14 and explain that the fear Satan held over humanity was rendered powerless by Christ. Point out that, as a created being, Satan is not a sovereign, all-powerful being, and he is certainly not equal to God. Because God is all-powerful, Satan does not stand a chance.
TALK TO GOD
As you pray, encourage your child to (1) thank Jesus for the people He provides to keep us safe and pray for those people, and (2) ask Him to guard us in everything we do.
Excerpted from 101 Ways to Strengthen the Parent-Child Connection by Michael Ross, Tiffany Rose. Copyright © 2015 Back to the Bible. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsStarting Point: Keys to Unlocking Your Child's Heart How to Connect and Nurture Spiritual Growth,
Part One: My Relationship with God He Is ...,
1. My Counselor / Isaiah 58:11,
2. My Creator / Isaiah 40:28,
3. My Example / Ephesians 5:1,
4. My Heavenly Father / Ephesians 4:5–6,
5. My Fortress / Psalm 18:2,
6. My Friend / John 15:12–14,
7. My God Who Sees Me / Genesis 16:13,
8. My Guardian / 2 Thessalonians 3:3,
9. My Guide / Isaiah 58:11,
10. My Healer / Jeremiah 17:14,
11. My Helper / Isaiah 41:13,
12. My Hope / Romans 15:13,
13. My Judge / Romans 2:16,
14. My King of Kings / Revelation 19:16,
15. My Lord / Isaiah 33:22,
16. My One True God / John 17:3,
17. My Physician / John 5:1–9,
18. My Redeemer / Lamentations 3:57–58,
19. My Rock / Deuteronomy 32:4,
20. My Savior / Acts 4:12,
21. My Shepherd / Psalm 23:1–3,
22. My Shield / Psalm 28:7,
23. My Source / Hebrews 1:3,
24. My Sufficiency / 2 Corinthians 9:8,
25. My Teacher / John 13:12–15,
Part Two: My Trust in God He Is ...,
26. All-Knowing / Psalm 139:2,
27. All-Powerful / Ephesians 1:18–20,
28. All-Sufficient / 2 Peter 1:3,
29. All-Wise / Romans 11:33,
30. Almighty / Psalm 91:1,
31. Alpha and Omega / Revelation 22:13,
32. Benevolent / Philippians 4:19,
33. Compassionate / Matthew 20:34,
34. Consistent / Hebrews 13:8,
35. Courageous / Hebrews 3:6,
36. Decisive / Luke 9:51,
37. Eternal / Revelation 1:8,
38. Everywhere / Psalm 139:7–8,
39. Faithful / 1 Corinthians 1:9,
40. Forgiving / 1 John 1:9,
41. Gentle / Matthew 11:29,
42. Good / Genesis 1:31,
43. Gracious / Romans 5:8,
44. Holy / 1 Peter 1:15–16,
45. Immortal / 1 Timothy 6:15–16,
46. In Control / Ephesians 1:22–23,
47. Infinite / Psalm 147:5,
48. A Jealous God / Exodus 20:4–6,
49. Just / Isaiah 51:4,
50. Living / Luke 24:46,
51. Long-Suffering / Romans 10:21,
52. Love / 1 John 4:7,
53. Majestic / Psalm 26:3,
54. Merciful / Daniel 9:9,
55. Moral / James 3:17,
56. Most High / Acts 7:48–50,
57. Near / Psalm 119:151,
58. The One True Voice / Psalm 29:4,
59. Patient / Psalm 100:5,
60. Persistent / Revelation 1:18,
61. Prince of Peace / Isaiah 9:6,
62. Pure / 1 John 3:2–3,
63. Righteous / Romans 3:22,
64. Ruler of All Things / Matthew 2:6,
65. Self-Existent / John 8:58,
66. Self-Sufficient / Isaiah 40:12–14,
67. Slow to Anger / Exodus 34:6,
68. Sovereign / Isaiah 61:11,
69. Strong / Psalm 27:1,
70. Sustainer of All Creation / Colossians 1:16–17,
71. Three-In-One / Matthew 3:16–17,
72. Trustworthy / Isaiah 26:4,
73. Unchanging / Malachi 3:6–7,
74. The Way, the Truth, and the Life / John 14:6,
75. Wonderful / Psalm 105:2,
76. Worthy of All Honor and Glory / Revelation 4:11,
Part Three: My Faith in God He Gives Me ...,
77. Acceptance / 2 Corinthians 6:18,
78. Choices to Make / Matthew 7:13–14,
79. Comfort / 1 Corinthians 14:33,
80. Creativity / Genesis 1:1,
81. Deliverance / Hebrews 2:18,
82. Forgiveness / Colossians 3:13,
83. Freedom / John 8:34–36,
84. God's Will / Romans 12:2,
85. A Home in Heaven / Psalm 23:6,
86. Hope / Psalm 71:5,
87. Joy / Romans 15:13,
88. Peace / Ephesians 2:14,
89. Prayer / Colossians 4:2,
90. Purpose / Ephesians 2:10,
91. A Relationship with Him / Revelation 3:20,
92. Rescue / Hebrews 2:18,
93. Restoration / Psalm 23:3,
94. Salvation / 2 Timothy 1:9–10,
95. A Second Chance / John 18:26–27,
96. Security / Psalm 4:8,
97. Strength / Isaiah 41:10,
98. Understanding / Psalm 103:13–14,
99. Victory / Philippians 3:13–14,
100. Wisdom / Matthew 7:24,
101. The Word of God / Hebrews 4:12,
Bonus Tips: Ten Ways to Nurture Spiritual Growth,
Bonus Tips: Three Ways to Boost a Tween's Confidence,